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Sports, Volume 9, Issue 10 (October 2021) – 10 articles

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Article
Evaluation of Training with Elastic Bands on Strength and Fatigue Indicators in Paralympic Powerlifting
Sports 2021, 9(10), 142; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/sports9100142 - 12 Oct 2021
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Abstract
Background: Variable resistance training has recently become a component of strength and conditioning programs. Objective: This randomized counterbalanced cross-over study aimed to investigate the use of elastic bands (EB) and the traditional method (TRAD) and force indicators in a training session. Methods: 12 [...] Read more.
Background: Variable resistance training has recently become a component of strength and conditioning programs. Objective: This randomized counterbalanced cross-over study aimed to investigate the use of elastic bands (EB) and the traditional method (TRAD) and force indicators in a training session. Methods: 12 Paralympic athletes (age: 28.60 ± 7.60 years) participated in this three-week study. In the first week, the participants were familiarized with EB and TRAD and were tested for maximal repetition (1-RM). The research occurred in weeks 2 and 3, which included the pre-post training, during which the following measures were extracted: maximum isometric force (MIF), the peak torque (PT), rate of force development (RFD), fatigue index (FI), and time to MIF (Time). The athletes performed two tests, EB and TRAD, separated by a one-week interval. Results: Significant differences were found between the pre- and post-test for 1RM (p = 0.018, η2p = 0.412), MIF (p = 0.011, η2p = 0.415), PT (p = 0.012, η2p = 0.413), and RFD (p = 0.0002, η2p = 0.761). With the use of EB, there was a difference in RFD between TRAD before and EB after (p = 0.016, η2p = 0.761). There were significant differences in the before and after for FI between TRAD and EB (p < 0.001) and for Time (p < 0.001), indicating that training with the use of elastic bands promotes overload, characterized by increased fatigue and decreased strength. Conclusions: Training with EB did not decrease 1RM, PT, MIF or RFD, however, there was an increase in fatigue and time to reach MIF when compared to the method with fixed resistance. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Researching Sports Biomechanics for Disabled People)
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Review
Sprinting Biomechanics and Hamstring Injuries: Is There a Link? A Literature Review
Sports 2021, 9(10), 141; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/sports9100141 - 09 Oct 2021
Viewed by 557
Abstract
Hamstring strain injury (HSI) is a common and costly injury in many sports such as the various professional football codes. Most HSIs have been reported to occur during high intensity sprinting actions. This observation has led to the suggestion that a link between [...] Read more.
Hamstring strain injury (HSI) is a common and costly injury in many sports such as the various professional football codes. Most HSIs have been reported to occur during high intensity sprinting actions. This observation has led to the suggestion that a link between sprinting biomechanics and HSIs may exist. The aim of this literature review was to evaluate the available scientific evidence underpinning the potential link between sprinting biomechanics and HSIs. A structured search of the literature was completed followed by a risk of bias assessment. A total of eighteen studies were retrieved. Sixteen studies involved retrospective and/or prospective analyses, of which only three were judged to have a low risk of bias. Two other case studies captured data before and after an acute HSI. A range of biomechanical variables have been measured, including ground reaction forces, trunk and lower-limb joint angles, hip and knee joint moments and powers, hamstring muscle–tendon unit stretch, and surface electromyographic activity from various trunk and thigh muscles. Overall, current evidence was unable to provide a clear and nonconflicting perspective on the potential link between sprinting biomechanics and HSIs. Nevertheless, some interesting findings were revealed, which hopefully will stimulate future research on this topic. Full article
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Article
The Influence of Maximal Strength and Knee Angle on the Reliability of Peak Force in the Isometric Squat
Sports 2021, 9(10), 140; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/sports9100140 - 09 Oct 2021
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Abstract
This study aimed to investigate the test-retest reliability of peak force in the isometric squat across the strength spectrum using coefficient of variation (CV) and intra-class correlation coefficient (ICC). On two separate days, 59 healthy men (mean (SD) age 23.0 (4.1) years; height [...] Read more.
This study aimed to investigate the test-retest reliability of peak force in the isometric squat across the strength spectrum using coefficient of variation (CV) and intra-class correlation coefficient (ICC). On two separate days, 59 healthy men (mean (SD) age 23.0 (4.1) years; height 1.79 (0.7) m; body mass 84.0 (15.2) kg) performed three maximal effort isometric squats in two positions (at a 120° and a 90° knee angle). Acceptable reliability was observed at both the 120° (CV = 7.5 (6.7), ICC = 0.960 [0.933, 0.977]) and 90° positions (CV = 9.2 (8.8), ICC = 0.920 [0.865, 0.953]). There was no relationship between peak force in the isometric squat and the test-retest reliability at either the 120° (r = 0.052, p = 0.327) or 90° (r = 0.014, p = 0.613) positions. A subgroup of subjects (n = 17) also completed the isometric squat test at a 65° knee angle. Acceptable reliability was observed in this position (CV = 9.6 (9.3), ICC = 0.916 [0.766, 0.970]) and reliability was comparable to the 120° and 90° positions. Therefore, we deem isometric squat peak force output to be a valid and reliable measure across the strength spectrum and in different isometric squat positions. Full article
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Article
Relative Training Load and Match Outcome: Are Professional Soccer Players Actually Undertrained during the In-Season?
Sports 2021, 9(10), 139; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/sports9100139 - 08 Oct 2021
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Abstract
Previous studies examined training/match ratios (TMr) to determine the training load relative to the match load, but the influence of the relative training load (RTL) on success in soccer is still unknown. Therefore, this study aimed to investigate the possible influence of RTL [...] Read more.
Previous studies examined training/match ratios (TMr) to determine the training load relative to the match load, but the influence of the relative training load (RTL) on success in soccer is still unknown. Therefore, this study aimed to investigate the possible influence of RTL on final match outcome in soccer (win, draw, and loss). Running performances (RP) of soccer players (n = 21) in the Croatian highest national soccer competition were analyzed during the season 2020–2021. Data were measured by the global positioning system in 14 official matches and 67 training sessions. RTL was assessed by TMr, which were calculated as the ratio of RP during training and match in the same week, evaluating the following measures: TDr (total distance ratio), LIDr (low-intensity distance ratio), RDr (running distance ratio), HIDr (high-intensity distance ratio), ACCr (total accelerations ratio), DECr (total decelerations ratio), HI-ACCr (high-intensity accelerations ratio), HI-DECr (high-intensity decelerations ratio). All TMr were examined separately for each training session within in-season microcycles (categorized as days before the match day, i.e., MD minus). Spearman correlations were used to identify association between match outcome and TMr. The results indicated negative associations between match outcome and TDr, LIDr, ACCr and DECr on MD-1 and MD-2). In contrast, positive associations were evidenced between match outcome, and HIDr on MD-3 and TDr, LIDr, ACCr and DECr on MD-5 (p < 0.05; all moderate correlations). These findings demonstrate that final match outcome in soccer was associated with greater RTL of (i) high-intensity running three days before the match, (ii) total and low-intensity running, accelerations and decelerations five days before the match, and (iii) lower RTL of total and low-intensity running, accelerations and decelerations one and two days before the match. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Strength and Conditioning and Performance Monitoring in Sports)
Article
Comparison of High and Low Responders to a Cross-Country Skiing Talent Transfer Program: A Coach’s Perspective
Sports 2021, 9(10), 138; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/sports9100138 - 02 Oct 2021
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Abstract
Purpose: To examine how coaches differentiate athletes with successful and non-successful development during a cross-country (XC) skiing talent transfer (TT) program. Methods: We conducted qualitative, semi-structured interviews with seven Norwegian coaches working with a group of 23 Chinese summer endurance athletes transferring from [...] Read more.
Purpose: To examine how coaches differentiate athletes with successful and non-successful development during a cross-country (XC) skiing talent transfer (TT) program. Methods: We conducted qualitative, semi-structured interviews with seven Norwegian coaches working with a group of 23 Chinese summer endurance athletes transferring from running, rowing, and kayaking to the winter endurance sport XC skiing over a six-month training period. The athletes were grouped as either high (n = 9), moderate (n = 3), or low responders (n = 11) based on objective performance development, quantified using laboratory testing. The interview guide contained six sections: physiological development, technical development, psychological characteristics, training and recovery routines, athlete background, and considerations about the effectiveness of TT initiatives in general. Results: The assessments of the coaches revealed that greater development of both physiological and technical capacities among the high-responding TT athletes were associated with higher motivation, as well as superior ability to deal with adversity in the development process. Conclusion: The coaches considered the TT program to be effective; however, successful transfer of athletes to a world class level in a complex sport such as XC skiing requires a multidisciplinary selection process and a longer time frame than the six-month period used in the current project. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Talent Identification and Development in Youth Sports)
Article
Resisted Sled Sprint Kinematics: The Acute Effect of Load and Sporting Population
Sports 2021, 9(10), 137; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/sports9100137 - 30 Sep 2021
Viewed by 402
Abstract
In this study, we assessed the acute kinematic effects of different sled load conditions (unloaded and at 10%, 20%, 30% decrement from maximum velocity (Vdec)) in different sporting populations. It is well-known that an athlete’s kinematics change with increasing sled load. However, to [...] Read more.
In this study, we assessed the acute kinematic effects of different sled load conditions (unloaded and at 10%, 20%, 30% decrement from maximum velocity (Vdec)) in different sporting populations. It is well-known that an athlete’s kinematics change with increasing sled load. However, to our knowledge, the relationship between the different loads in resisted sled sprinting (RSS) and kinematic characteristics is unknown. Thirty-three athletes (sprinters n = 10; team sport athletes n = 23) performed a familiarization session (day 1), and 12 sprints at different loads (day 2) over a distance of 40 m. Sprint time and average velocity were measured. Sagittal-plane high-speed video data was recorded for early acceleration and maximum velocity phase and joint angles computed. Loading introduced significant changes to hip, knee, ankle, and trunk angle for touch-down and toe-off for the acceleration and maximum velocity phase (p < 0.05). Knee, hip, and ankle angles became more flexed with increasing load for all groups and trunk lean increased linearly with increasing loading conditions. The results of this study provide coaches with important information that may influence how RSS is employed as a training tool to improve sprint performance for acceleration and maximal velocity running and that prescription may not change based on sporting population, as there were only minimal differences observed between groups. The trunk lean increase was related to the heavy loads and appeared to prevent athletes to reach mechanics that were truly reflective of maximum velocity sprinting. Lighter loads seem to be more adequate to not provoke changes in maxV kinematics. However, heavy loading extended the distance over which it is possible to train acceleration. Full article
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Case Report
Racing Demands of Off-Road Triathlon: A Case Study of a National Champion Masters Triathlete
Sports 2021, 9(10), 136; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/sports9100136 - 30 Sep 2021
Viewed by 408
Abstract
(1) Background: This report examines the unique demands of off-road triathlon (XT) by presenting physiological, field, and race data from a national champion off-road triathlete using several years of laboratory and field data to detail training and race intensity. (2) Methods: Laboratory and [...] Read more.
(1) Background: This report examines the unique demands of off-road triathlon (XT) by presenting physiological, field, and race data from a national champion off-road triathlete using several years of laboratory and field data to detail training and race intensity. (2) Methods: Laboratory and field data were collected when the athlete was at near peak fitness and included oxygen consumption (VO2), heart rate (HR), power output (W), and blood lactate (BLC) during cycling and running, while HR, cycling W, and running metrics were obtained from training and race data files over a period of seven years. Intensity was described using % HR max zones (Z) 1 < 75%, 2 = 75–87%, and Zone 3 > 87%, and W. An ordinary least squares analysis was used to model differences between event types. (3) Results: Weather conditions were not different across events. XT events had twice the elevation change (p < 0.01) and two-three times greater anaerobic work capacity (W’) (p < 0.001) than road triathlon (ROAD), but similar HR intensity profiles (max, avg, and zones); both events are predominately performed at >Z2 or higher intensity. Championship XT events were longer (p < 0.01), with higher kJ expenditure (p < 0.001). Ordinary Least Squares (OLS) modelling suggested three variables were strongly related (R2 = 0.84; p < 0.0001) to cycling performance: event type (XT vs ROAD), total meters climbed, and total bike duration. Championship XT runs were slower than either regional (p < 0.05) or ROAD (p < 0.01) runs, but HR intensity profiles similar. OLS modelling indicates that slower running is linked to either greater total bike kJ expenditure (R2 = 0.57; p < 0.001), or total meters gained (R2 = 0.52; p < 0.001). Race simulation data support these findings but failed to produce meaningful differences in running. Conclusions: XT race demands are unique and mirror mountain bike (MTB) and trail running demands. XT athletes must be mindful of developing anaerobic fitness, technical ability, and aerobic fitness, all of which contribute to off-road cycling economy. It is unclear whether XT cycling affects subsequent running performance different from ROAD cycling. Full article
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Systematic Review
Pre-Exercise Whole- or Partial-Body Cryotherapy Exposure to Improve Physical Performance: A Systematic Review
Sports 2021, 9(10), 135; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/sports9100135 - 30 Sep 2021
Viewed by 504
Abstract
Whole- (WBC) and partial-body cryotherapy (PBC) are commonly used sports medicine modalities for the treatment of injury and exercise recovery. Physiological and perceptual effects have the potential to be utilised in a novel application that involves pre-exercise WBC and PBC exposure to improve [...] Read more.
Whole- (WBC) and partial-body cryotherapy (PBC) are commonly used sports medicine modalities for the treatment of injury and exercise recovery. Physiological and perceptual effects have the potential to be utilised in a novel application that involves pre-exercise WBC and PBC exposure to improve physical performance. A systematic literature search of multiple databases was conducted in July 2021 to identify and evaluate the effects of pre-exercise exposure of WBC or PBC on physical performance measures, and any potential translational effects. The following inclusion criteria were applied: (1) use of WBC or PBC exposure pre-exercise, (2) use of WBC or PBC in healthy and/or athletic populations, (3) control group was used in the data collection, and (4) investigated physiological, psychosocial or direct physical performance impacts of pre-exercise cryotherapy exposure. A total of 759 titles were identified, with twelve relevant studies satisfying the inclusion criteria after full-text screening. The twelve studies were categorised into three key areas: performance testing (n = 6), oxidative stress response (n = 4) and lysosomal enzyme activity (n = 2). The potential for eliciting favourable physical and physiological responses from pre-exercise WBC or PBC is currently unclear with a paucity of good quality research available. Furthermore, a lack of standardisation of cryotherapy protocols is a current challenge. Full article
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Article
A Pilot Study of miRNA Expression Profile as a Liquid Biopsy for Full-Marathon Participants
Sports 2021, 9(10), 134; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/sports9100134 - 24 Sep 2021
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Abstract
Exosomal microRNA (miRNA) in plasma and urine has attracted attention as a novel diagnostic tool for pathological conditions. However, the mechanisms of miRNA dynamics in the exercise physiology field are not well understood in terms of monitoring sports performance. This pilot study aimed [...] Read more.
Exosomal microRNA (miRNA) in plasma and urine has attracted attention as a novel diagnostic tool for pathological conditions. However, the mechanisms of miRNA dynamics in the exercise physiology field are not well understood in terms of monitoring sports performance. This pilot study aimed to reveal the miRNA dynamics in urine and plasma of full-marathon participants. Plasma and urine samples were collected from 26 marathon participants before, immediately after, 2 h after, and one day after a full marathon. The samples were pooled, and exosomal miRNAs were extracted and analyzed using next-generation sequencing. We determined that the exosomal miRNA expression profile changed under time dependency in full marathon. New uncharacterized exosomal miRNAs such as hsa-miR-582-3p and hsa-miR-199a-3p could be potential biomarkers reflecting physical stress of full marathon in plasma and urine. In addition, some muscle miRNAs in plasma and urine have supported the utility for monitoring physical stress. Furthermore, some inflammation-related exosomal miRNAs were useful only in plasma. These results suggest that these exosomal miRNAs in plasma and/or urine are highly sensitive biomarkers for physical stress in full marathons. Thus, our findings may yield valuable insights into exercise physiology. Full article
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Article
Mucosal-Associated Invariant T Cell Response to Acute Exercise and Exercise Training in Older Obese Women
Sports 2021, 9(10), 133; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/sports9100133 - 24 Sep 2021
Viewed by 461
Abstract
(1) Background: Obesity is a major global public health concern as it is associated with many of the leading causes of preventable deaths. Exercise reduces obesity-induced inflammation; however, it is unknown how exercise training may impact mucosal associated invariant T (MAIT) cells in [...] Read more.
(1) Background: Obesity is a major global public health concern as it is associated with many of the leading causes of preventable deaths. Exercise reduces obesity-induced inflammation; however, it is unknown how exercise training may impact mucosal associated invariant T (MAIT) cells in overweight/obese (OW) post-menopausal women. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to investigate (i) circulating MAIT-cells at rest in OW vs. Lean women, (ii) the response of MAIT-cells to a single bout of combined aerobic and resistance exercise, and (iii) the effects of 12 weeks of exercise training (EX) or educational program (ED) on the MAIT-cell response in OW. (2) Methods: OW completed an acute exercise session or sitting control, underwent 12 weeks of exercise training or received educational materials, and then repeated the exercise session/sitting control. Lean post-menopausal women provided a baseline comparison. (3) Results: OW had lower circulating MAIT-cells at rest than Lean prior to exercise training; however, after training EX displayed improved MAIT-cell frequency. Additionally, prior to training EX did not exhibit MAIT-cell mobilization/egress, however, both improved after training. (4) Conclusions: Reduced MAIT-cell frequency and ability to mobilize/egress were potentially partially rescued in EX after 12 weeks of exercise training; however, further research is needed to elucidate age or obesity-induced attenuations in MAIT-cells. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Effects of Exercise on the Immune System)
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